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Oyster Shells Recycled

The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL) recently implemented the state’s first formal oyster shell recycling program, which collected over 19,000 pounds of shell from New Orleans restaurants in its first weekend.

The program, made possible by a $1 million philanthropic gift from Shell, plans to restore oyster reefs and shoreline habitat across coastal Louisiana. CRCL will be partnering with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) to facilitate storage and placement of shell along the coast.

“We are very excited to embark on this program, which will allow local restaurants and their patrons to play a part in helping preserve our coast,” says CRCL Restoration Director, Hilary Collis. “Not only are oysters a great part of our cuisine, oyster reefs are an essential part of our coast. This program will harness a resource that is largely lost to landfills and put it to use restoring our oyster reefs and helping protect our eroding shorelines.”

Louisiana currently experiences a shell deficit – more shell is removed from Louisiana’s coast than is returned to help maintain oyster reefs.

The CRCL Oyster Shell Recycling Program will return at least 1,500 tons of shell to Louisiana’s coast each year.

“Our coast is our future,” says CRCL Executive Director, Kimberly Davis Reyher “and this is just the sort of partnership approach we need to restore our coast. We’re very grateful to Shell, LDWF, Phoenix Recycling and all the participating restaurants – and all those eating oysters in New Orleans!”

CRCL is currently working with Acme Oyster House (New Orleans and Metairie locations), Bourbon House, Redfish Grill, Pêche Seafood Grill, Lüke and Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar, and hopes to expand the program to other restaurants as the program continues to grow.

“The main reason we want to be involved in recycling oyster shells is because we’re such a large user of the resource,” says Paul Rotner, Chief Operating Officer of Acme Oyster House. “It’s in our best interest. We need the shells in order to enrich the life span of our current oyster beds and to build new reefs. Oysters are natural water filters; oyster reefs provide wildlife habitat and coastal protection. We are extremely proud to be a partnering with the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and the Oyster Shell Recycling Program.”

For more information about this program, contact CRCL Restoration Director, Hilary Collis at (225) 767-4181, or hilaryc@crcl.org.

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